Scientific Writing in English


Course Objective

On successful completion of this course you will be a confident writer
of an academic text in English which is
• genre-appropriate
• coherent
• convincing
• relatively free of linguistic error

Course Content

The course will start off by ensuring that you are up to speed in terms
of the macrostructural and discursive features of academic texts in
general and the specific kind of text you are writing in the content of
the MPA programme. Centre stage is then given to aspects of coherent
text and to linguistic devices that English uses to express complex
ideas: we introduce basic principles, give you practice in analysing and
reformulating defective text segments, and give you a checklist that you
can use when editing your own text. The idea underlying this approach is
that writing essentially involves rewriting and rewriting.

The treatment of linguistic accuracy [lexical, grammatical and
punctuational features] takes a less central place in the group sessions
of the course, but the detailed feedback given on your texts allows you
to work on any individual problems you may have using the ELS-Online
feedback site.

Teaching Methods

The course consists of four plenary lectures, complemented by 2 seminars
in groups of approx. 20-25 students per group.

Method of Assessment

The final product comprises a research report [in the form of an
article] relating in principle to your internship. A number of weeks
into the course you submit the draft introduction of your text, and you
will receive feedback through a marking programme called Markin, which
is linked to our feedback website ELS-Online. You will receive another
round of feedback on a part of the final version of the full text,
following submission in June or July depending on whether you start the
course in February or March. Assessment focuses on structure, academic
style, clarity of expression, and linguistic accuracy.

Your text will receive a pass/fail assessment. If you fail, you will be
given the opportunity to submit a reworked version. If you have
significant language problems which prevent you from writing a text at
the required level, you will be given advice on extra coaching
opportunities available at the VU.


There is no obligatory reading for this course outside the course
materials, but for language support you are advised to study the
feedback categories in ELS-Online.

Target Audience

This course is only open to students doing the MSc in MPA.

Additional Information

1. The course has two starting times, one at the beginning of February
and one at the beginning of March. Your starting time will be agreed in
consultation with the programme coordinator
2. The materials for the course will be made available on the course’s
Canvas site. You will also be asked to submit the first and final
versions of your writing assignment via Canvas. Please organize your
Canvas account so that you receive course announcements additionally via
your e-mail [see in Canvas under notifications].

General Information

Course Code AM_1160
Credits 3 EC
Period P4+5+6
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. G.A. Dreschler
Examiner dr. G.A. Dreschler
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Study Group